Jason Poihipi killed his partner in a jealous rage. A jury came to that conclusion after a week-long trial in the High Court at Rotorua this week. The 19-year-old will be sentenced on November 22. For now he remains in custody, guilty of murdering Lynace Parakuka. Members of both the Parakuka and Poihipi families spoke to reporter Jill Nicholas about their hopes for closure.
Five hours of jury deliberations culminated in a guilty verdict for Jason Wiremu Poihipi, 19, in the High Court at Rotorua this week.
Poihipi will be sentenced in November for murdering Lynace Parakuka last year.
After the verdict was returned, Poihipi's father Jason Poihipi Senior, spoke exclusively to the Rotorua Daily Post about the result.
Outside the court, he expressed his deep sympathy for Parakuka's family saying the verdict "is what it is".
"We loved Lynace, we didn't want this to happen to her, we are truly sorry that it did. We are very sorry for her and her whānau, we just want them to know that."
He hoped the verdict had brought the Parakuka family some form of closure.
"But we have to live with this as well, I am trying to hold my tears in . . . We will overcome this."
He said he had never considered his son capable of committing murder.
"We will support our son through this and press forward with our lives."
He confirmed the word tattooed across his son's face spelled out Apex – during the trial the jury heard it was also his social media and email password.
Parakuka's aunt, Leonie Parakuka of Ōpōtiki, greeted the verdict by saying: "He didn't need to have done what he done."
With tears running down her cheeks she said she knew Poihipi's whānau were sorry and she was grateful for that.
"It was not their fault."
She described her niece as a lovely person who didn't deserve to die in such a dreadful way.
She said Parakuka's death had been particularly hard on her 5-year-old daughter, now being brought up by her kuia (grandmother).
Her niece had been laid to rest in a whānau urupa (cemetery) on the outskirts of Ōpōtiki where she is lying next to her mother, Luana Raukawa, who had also died "the same way" - the victim of a brutal killing.